Outdoors: DEC taking applications for pheasant hunting


The New York State DEC is now accepting applications for sponsored pheasant hunts. Sponsored hunts are free, non-competitive events coordinated by a group, club, individual or organization to benefit youth, women, first-time hunters, veterans and people with disabilities.

The NYSDEC provides up to 50 game-farm raised pheasants to each sponsoring organization free of charge.

Sponsored pheasant hunts are a great opportunity for experienced hunters to introduce novice hunters to the fine tradition of pheasant hunting. In a sponsored hunt, dedicated local sportsmen and sportswomen share their expertise with beginning hunters in a supportive environment. This program gives individuals the chance to embark on a life-long pursuit of hunting and outdoor enjoyment.

If you or your group would like to sponsor a hunt, program requirements and an application may be downloaded from DEC’s website at


. All applications must be received by no later than Sept. 1.

Successful applicants will be notified via phone. If your application is approved, you will be required to make arrangements with the Reynolds Game Farm located in Ithaca to coordinate a delivery time, date, and location.


 As farmers begin to cut fields and hunters begin to venture afield on deer scouting missions, whether hanging cameras or performing treestand maintenance, keep an eye out for turkeys, specifically the little guys with hens.

Anyone can submit information, whether it be scouting hunters, friends on a hike, or anyone driving around the countryside. All information submitted helps DEC biologists determine a multitude of things relevant to wild turkeys and also turkey hunting. The reported observations of wild turkeys are used to track changes in abundance and productivity (number of poults produced per adult hen) over time and in different parts of the state. It also helps forecast hunting prospects for the coming fall season and for subsequent spring seasons.

Survey forms can be downloaded from the DEC website and mailed to Turkey Survey, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, N.Y., 12233-4754, or you can report your observations online at



If you plan to hunt woodcock, ducks, geese, brant, rails, snipe, coots, gallinules or sea ducks, you must register with the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program, also known as HIP for short.

Hunters age 16 and older must also purchase a federal duck stamp.

To register for HIP, you must log into the new licensing website at


If you are not already registered in the new online licensing system, you will need to follow a few simple steps to register:

Choose the “sign up” option and enter your date of birth and your DEC customer ID number (from your hunting license or backtag) or your driver’s license number.

Create a user name and password. Once you have successfully created an account or if you are a returning customer, follow the remaining steps to register for HIP:

Once logged in, navigate to the “buy license” panel. If you have an existing hunting license or a hunting license is in your cart, the website will give you the option of “purchasing” a HIP registration for $0.

When proceeding to checkout, you will be prompted to answer a series of questions pertaining to your hunting activities last year. This includes the approximate number of each of the birds you harvested last season.

After you complete the checkout process, you can access your HIP number by clicking on the “Game Harvest and HIP” tab in the left-hand column. This number proves your participation in HIP. You are required to carry this number with you in some form while migratory bird hunting.

HIP registration is valid from Aug. 1-April 15. Hunters must register annually. HIP registrations are state specific. Non-residents must register to hunt in New York, even if registered in another state.

If you are unable to register for HIP or encounter problems, please contact the DECALS licensing hotline (1-866-933-2257) and talk to a representative who can assist you in the registration process.

HIP is a federal legal requirement. Any person who hunts migratory game birds (including woodcock) must have proof of participation whenever he or she goes afield. Failure to carry proof is a violation equal to hunting without a license.

HIP provides the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) with a national registry of migratory bird hunters from which they can select participants for harvest surveys.

Only a small percentage of HIP participants will be selected for harvest surveys, which will be mailed to them by the USFWS. Completion of the survey is completely voluntary. HIP started in a few states in 1991. All states had to participate beginning in 1998. In New York State, the requirement took effect on Sept. 1, 1998.

Information from these surveys help the USFWS monitor the harvest of migratory game birds, and is needed to establish annual hunting regulations.


NYSDEC’s Bureau of Wildlife is seeking new participants for the New York Bowhunter Sighting Log. The program, implemented over two decades ago, is designed to provide information on long-term population trends for certain wildlife species.

Because bowhunters spend so much time sitting still in the same place, they are ideal wildlife observers. Cooperators keep a record of their bowhunting activities and wildlife species seen from their stand. The data, collected annually from thousands of bowhunters, is useful for population monitoring and helps biologists make informed management decisions.

I have participated in the log for at least the past 10 years. I make notes on every single hunt and fill out the survey log all at once come the end of the season or upon tagging out. For more information and and to request a survey, please visit DEC’s bowhunter sighting log webpage at https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7193.html

This link also contains a plethora of data via a downloadable PDF file that really gets into detail of locations and numbers per 1000 hours of bowhunters statistics. Interestingly enough, out of the 23 areas of New York that the log is divided into, only one of those, an area described as “Tug Hill Transition” had a lower number of total deer and lower number of bucks than the previous study year.

Another rather interesting connotation was that there were significantly less coyotes sighted across the board. Only two areas had a higher coyote sighting value than the previous year, coincidentally one of those was also the Tug Hill area.

Categories: Sports

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